Purpose - The main purpose of this paper is to synthesize what scholars have studied about TSR over nearly the last decade, from 2010 to 2018. The synthesis discusses the development of TSR including trends of research topics and the evolution of applied methodologies and analytical techniques. An inclusive literature review of TSR aims at systemizing, assessing the state of published research on TSR and making suggestions for further research.
Design/methodology/approach - We presented a theoretical paper that looked at the growth of TSR according to 5 main criteria: conceptual definition, research topics, study contexts, study design and sampling and analytical approach. We collected and analyzed 56 TSR publications.
Findings - After ten years of research, TSR is still underdeveloped in several aspects. Besides the formal definition issues, the vast majority of TSR studies is conceptual and focuses on health care, financial and social services. The relationship between service and well-being in TSR seems unexplored on a broad basis due to missing research regarding the impacts of endogenous and exogenous factors on well-being enhancement. Applications of TSR in service design are still not generalized, because the published case studies and the strong focus on individuals, not groups and societies, hinder its development. From a methodological perspective, the TSR research stream has recently seen a shift towards qualitative studies since 2017.
The published papers identify room for theoretical improvements, such as TSR and the formation or co-creation of value and well-being; the interrelations between TSR, service-dominant logic and customer-dominant logic; TSR, negative well-being outcomes and value co-destruction; TSR and service design.
Research limitations/implications - The authors excluded TSR publications in conference proceedings.
Further research - This paper suggests specific research directions on how to expand TSR in response to recognized research gaps. It calls for additional, especially empirical research and conceptual studies to explore this concept in more depth. Future research should also study ways to make the findings of previous TSR articles readily transferrable to other service contexts than finance, health care and social services.
Originality/value - After a decade, TSR is still in its infancy stage and requires a lot more research efforts should we want it to survive. Until now, there has not been any article which gives a thorough clarification of what researchers have learned about TSR and what remains unknown. This study contributes to service marketing literature by offering a comprehensive review of all publications on TSR over the past decade, synthesizing it and figuring out open questions and research gaps. It can thus build a fair basis for further and rigor research on TSR.
Key words: transformative service research (TSR), well-being, co-creation.
Article classification: Literature review.